Bone Drug That Treats Baldness?

Around four in 10 men suffer male pattern baldness by the age of 45 and two thirds by the age of 60

Updated | An existing drug used to treat a common bone disorder could hold the key to the cure for baldness, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Manchester's Centre for Dermatology Research found the drug, originally designed as a treatment for osteoporosis, has a "dramatic stimulatory effect" on human hair follicles donated by patients undergoing hair transplantation surgery.

For Hawkshaw and his team, the next step is to do "a clinical trial to see if the treatment was effective and safe in people", he told the BBC.

There are now two drugs available to treat balding - minoxidil (for men and women) and finasteride (for men) - but both have side-effects and are not always effective.

A side effect of a drug that was originally used as an immunosuppressant could one day be used to treat baldness.

The protein that regulates and affects tissues and hair follicles is SFRP1.

More significantly still, hair began to grow within two days on the scalp hair follicles tested as part of the research.

The study at the University of Manchester suggests the answer could lie in an experimental drug created to treat the brittle bone disease, osteoporosis.

The discovery, still to be tested in clinical trials, could open up a whole new approach to treating hair loss in both men and women, researchers believe.

The study is published online in journal PLOS Biology. Both of these agents, however, only offer moderate side effects and are not universally effective. The other option is minimally invasive hair transplant surgery. But the side effects were so serious that the team decided not to use it for hair loss.

Have you noticed your hair thinning as you get older?

The Osteoporosis drug proves to be a boon to stimulate the hair growth in follicles.

It started with a hunt for novel agents to treat male pattern baldness, it marked down few candidates that were recognized to have hair growth as a outcome owing to their other damaging effects.

"That said, more research will need to be done before it can be used by people with hair loss", he adds, saying that treatments for baldness are often hit and miss.

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